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You can only admire Sourav's determination, says Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar

Melbourne: The legendary Sunil Gavaskar took time off from his commentary commitments, on Wednesday, to speak to The Telegraph exclusively on Sourav Ganguly.

The following are excerpts

On whether he’d slept well in the lead-up to becoming the first Indian — Asian, in fact — to make 100 Test appearances (Lahore, 1984-85)

(Laughs) I invariably had problems sleeping on the night before the first day of a series, so I didn’t sleep well as my 100th Test was also the first of that series... I had a restless night, but not because I was approaching a milestone.

On the 100 Tests club

Look, I’d never dreamt I would play that many Tests... One dreams of playing, of bringing honour to the country, but one doesn’t dream of numbers... As only three had played that many Tests before me, I remember that morning did seem different... It was different from the usual butterflies in the stomach situation... Different from the touch of nervousness felt before every appearance for India...

On Sourav’s achievement given that, till just over a year ago, he’d been out of the team

You can only admire his determination to play for the country again... If you’ve already played 80-odd Tests (Sourav had reached 88 when dropped after Karachi), then you may think that you’ve had your innings and... However, Sourav was determined and how well he did return... He looked as enthusiastic as a schoolboy... All credit to him for such an emphatic comeback (in South Africa, last December).

On his interaction with Sourav before the opening day’s play at the MCG

I welcomed him to the Club and presented a bottle of champagne on behalf of ESPN STAR Sports... But I also told him the bottle was to be opened after he gets a hundred or when India wins... Hopefully, he’ll have an enjoyable Test and not just personally...

On whether he remembers any one Test of Sourav

Two, actually... His debut at Lord’s (1996) where he got 131 and the Brisbane Test on the last tour, when he got 144... Sourav was thrust into an unfamiliar position (at No.3) on debut, but got a magnificent hundred with breathtaking shots... The debut is tough because, till then, you’ve only played at a certain level and there’s a difference when it comes to Test cricket... Indeed, you don’t know whether you’ve missed a trick while playing at the lower level... As for Brisbane, Sourav’s hundred there set the tone for the series and was his answer to those in the Australian media who’d been talking of chin music and so on... A lot of unkind noises had been made and Sourav silenced everybody with a fabulous hundred.

On whether there’s a Sourav quality which he admires

His quiet determination... His ability to hang in there...

On how would he describe Sourav

(Smiles) In four letters — Dada!

Finally, on Sourav’s future

If he shows the same kind of enthusiasm that he’s shown in the past year, then it’s up to him... Eventually it’s not so much what the body tells you, but what the mind says... Till his mind says it’s enough, he should continue enjoying himself.

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